“As usual though I want more context 😉 Why did Anaca allow herself to be caught? (Or if she didn’t want to, how did they catch her?)”
This is a partial answer to this, from Anaca’s point of view.
I’d gotten used to hiding, but I never really got used to being alone.
When my Change had come, I’d been just past my fourteenth birthday, and the world had been mad with wild gods in the skies. My bones had twisted, my thumbs vanished, my tail grew, while I hid in my closet and tried not to scream. When it was over, I looked something like a rabbit, and something like a deer, and only like a human in the silhouette.
A long time past, that, and, that time, my family and I had managed to flee before the lynch mob came to get me. Anything strange was suspect, and I was definitely strange.
I learned to Mask from a travelling biker gang not long afterwards, bikers who mostly didn’t bother, in that age, to hide their horns and tusks. That helped some; it helped hide me from the strangers who were afraid of all things fae. But it didn’t help the real problems. My parents were not fae, and neither were my siblings, and, though they tried to hide it, they were as afraid of the monster in their midst as the strangers we were hiding from were. I ran off in the middle of the night with the bikers, and tried to pretend it didn’t hurt.
So’jers like that had no real place for a teenaged girl who’d barely Changed, so I didn’t stay with them for very long. I bounced from group to group, hiding where I could, helping when I was able, and learning from those who would teach me.
It got harder and harder as time passed. Sometimes, the Mask, the glamour that hid my appearance from humankind, would flicker on me, and sometimes it failed completely. I couldn’t risk spending time in the company of humans, or at least not much time at once, so I found groups of fae that I could live or travel with. But, as the decades passed, those groups got rarer and rarer, and the so’jers were no better company for a fifty-year-old preybeast than they had been for a fourteen-year-old.
I had been living in the Appalachian forest for what I was pretty sure was ten or eleven years, in an area where humans rarely travelled. It was one of those places they called a “twisted zone,” where the magic thrown around during the God Wars had changed the landscape and the animals. Other fae would come through sometimes, but humans found the places scary, and their legends told them that they, too, could be changed, by the air or the water or just contact with the strange creatures there. It made for a lonely existence, but I’d grown a bit tired of running, and here, I’d been able to settle down.
I had a nice set-up, a cave that was dry all year round, with some scavenged furniture from a few falling-down houses. My Change had made me an herbivore, and so I had a nice garden, spread out enough that it didn’t look like a sign of habitation. The weather never got cold enough to really need clothes, and I never saw anyone, so I’d stopped bothering with clothes. It was a comfortable life, if wild, but it was lonely.
I guess I’m really not built for the solitude. When people came through, I’d hide in the trees and watch them, listening to their conversations, imagining talking to them, wondering what it would be like to travel with them. I’d follow them to the edge of my territory, sometimes sleeping nearby just to feel like I was near people again.
When the ringmaster came through, with his cart for catching strange creatures and his bright, chipper, twin companions, they didn’t even have to put forth any effort to catch me. I hate to admit it, but I fell right into their trap.
And sitting there, struggling with the net, hissing and spitting like a wild thing, I have to admit… somewhere in the back of my mind, I was relieved.
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